They say that what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.  Well, I didn’t mean to take that literally, but I’ve left more than my money in Sin City.  I left my wallet behind, as well.

Not on purpose, mind you.  Guess you could say that I was distracted by the flashing lights of video poker, and the sensible part of my brain shut down. Yes, I lost my wallet in the middle of a casino.  I reported the loss to “lost and found,” but no luck.  No one turned it in.  I was fortunately able to look up my bank’s phone numbers up through my phone and cancelled my cards, was assured by the bank that there had been no fraudulent activity since my last transaction, then my thoughts turned to the bigger problem.

I now had no ID.  And no way of getting a replacement before I had to fly home.  How was I supposed to get onto my flight?

I called the airlines that I had scheduled my return flight on.  They said that I needed to file a police report, and they would accept that as proof of my identity.  But whether the TSA would allow me past airport security was something that they had no certain information on…

The report needs to be filed at the station, and the staff of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department were very understanding.  I got the impression that this sort of thing happens to tourists quite often.  After signing in at the front, I was given a form to fill in the details of the items lost with the wallet — only the important things, like IDs, cards, medical cards, things like that — as well as the details of the loss.  I have to thank Michele (didn’t get her last name), for making the whole process a lot less stressful than it could have been.  She also helped me to remember details that I didn’t think to put down when I filled out the form.

I was given a copy, and I was able to use that copy as well as my receipt from my original booking to obtain my boarding pass at the airport.  Then, it was time to tackle airport security.  Fortunately, they were just as understanding as the police had been — as I said, I think this is a lot more common for tourists to do than most people might think.  Besides the police report, I was asked if I had anything else that might prove who I was, other documents with my name on it, such as hotel receipts, rental car agreements, Costco club card, etc.  No, you can’t whip open your laptop and show the agent your Facebook page — electronic ‘proof’ is not considered valid.  It has to be something you could only obtain in person.  If you don’t have enough of these other documents (this is up to the agent to decide), the next step is that the agent will call their database, and you will have to answer a few questions.  Questions that only you would be able to answer.  Not even my husband would have known the answers to mine!

Once they’re sure you are who you say you are, you’re allowed to go through security, but with additional screening.   All of your items will be searched and tested for dangerous substances.  You have to get a pat-down.  All of which sounds bad, but it’s really not.  Keeping calm really helps.  For me, it certainly wasn’t the nightmare that I’d heard it could be.  The TSA agents I dealt with were all really nice, and since my husband and I made sure to arrive at the airport extra early (about 3 hours before our scheduled flight), I was able to get through all of the questioning and additional screening in more than enough time to make my flight.

Now comes the difficult part — acquiring new identification and cards, and monitoring my credit reports to make sure my identity hasn’t been stolen.

I think I need another vacation…